Bowing to the wishes of families of bombing victims, the Oklahoma City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to permanently close the street in front of the blast site.
The council’s vote came over the objections of a few merchants in the area, who maintained that closing the one-block stretch hurts their businesses.
Victims’ families want that section of Fifth Street included in a planned memorial to those killed when a bomb ripped through the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The April 19, 1995, bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 500 others.
“I’m in tears with joy that we had a nine-nothing vote,” said Bud Welch, whose daughter, Julie, died in the bombing.
The chairman of the memorial task force, Bob Johnson, said that he plans to start an international design competition for the memorial on Nov. 15. In addition to closing the street, the city is buying some land across the street from the federal building site to be part of the memorial site.
The street has been closed on a temporary basis since the bombing. At the building site is a chain-link fence that has served as an impromptu memorial where people leave flowers, banners, teddy bears and other tributes.